US State-level Chemicals Policy Database- Frequently Asked Questions
How was the database compiled?The database was originally developed in 2007 through interviews, document and report review, and legislative database research. Some of the resources consulted include, but were not limited to: Safer States Coalition, National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, National Caucus of State Legislatures, National Pollution Prevention Roundtable, Initiative on Children’s Environmental Health, ISSA, NEWMOA, Northwest Product Stewardship Council, Product Stewardship Institute, Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse, state environmental agency staff, state legislature websites, list servs, StateScape, and LexisNexis.
While the database is fairly comprehensive for enacted legislation and executive branch policies from 1990 to the present, there are many gaps for proposed legislation (bills) before 2007. Legislation enacted before 2007 is cited to the statutory code, rather than the bill number.
The database is not meant to be a comprehensive guide to legislation and regulations in a given state. For a comprehensive source of state laws and regulations, always consult the relevant state authorities.
What is the scope of the database?
Legislation that is included in the database falls into 13 policy categories: (1) pollution prevention and toxics use reduction; (2) single chemical restrictions; (3) multiple chemical policies; (4) regulation of product categories; (5) biomonitoring and environmental health tracking and surveillance systems; (6) data collection; (7) right-to-know; (8) prioritization; (9) alternatives assessment; (10) green chemistry and design for the environment; (11) product stewardship; (12) environmentally preferable purchasing; and (13) precautionary principle. For a detailed description of the categories and instructive examples, click here.
Specific areas that are excluded from the database include legislation related to: pesticides, pharmaceuticals, media-specific initiatives (air, water, soil, sludge, etc.), mercury in vaccines, and clean-up/remediation/site-specific initiatives.
How is the database updated?
The database is updated monthly based on information obtained from list servs, advocates, state environmental agency staff, state legislature websites, and comments submitted on our website. We also perform a semi-annual comprehensive update (December, July) where we update the status of all pending legislation from the most recent legislative session and review the National Caucus of State Legislatures Environmental Health Legislation Database and StateScape for new entries.
How are entries for proposed legislation revised as they proceed through the legislative process?
Proposed legislation frequently changes as it moves through a state legislature. We endeavor to keep these entries as up-to-date as possible. Most often, only the status of a bill will change. However, bill amendments are also fairly common. When an amendment occurs, we update the status, post a new full-text version of the bill, and edit the description to correspond with the new bill text. We do not keep a record of all versions of a bill and do not detail revisions in the description. For this level of detail, please consult the individual state legislature websites. If the provision of interest is completely eliminated from a proposed bill, we keep the entry with the version of the text that contains the provision of interest and note in the status field that the provision has been eliminated from the bill.
We continue to list bills as “proposed” rather than “failed” unless the state legislature website specifically lists the bill as “failed.” Each state varies as to whether a bill is listed in this way.
When a bill is enacted, we revise the entry by eliminating the status, adding the year the bill was enacted, posting a new full-text version of the law, and updating the description of the policy if necessary. We generally leave the citation to the bill since the law is often most recognizable in this way.
How can I search the database?
To search the database, use the seven pull-down menus (i.e. state, region, status, chemical, policy category, product types, year) to make selections in one or more of the pull-down menus. When making selections in multiple pull-down menus, the results will include only entries that contain all of the selections highlighted. The database can also be searched by making multiple selections from one pull-down menu. In order to select more than one item in each menu, hold down the command key (Mac) or control key (PC) while making the selections. When making multiple selections in one pull-down menu, the results will include entries that contain any of the selections highlighted.
Additionally, the entire database can be searched by entering a bill number, word, or phrase into the box located below the pull-down menus. This will search the full database entries of each policy for the entered word or phrase, although it will not return results where the entered word or phase is found solely in the full-text document (word or pdf) of the policy.
What information is available in the database?
For each policy, the database provides a brief description of the policy, the status of the policy, the year the policy was enacted or proposed (subsequently amended policies are categorized only by the year that the policy was originally enacted), the category of the policy, the specific chemicals and products addressed by the policy, and a link to the full text of the policy.
How can I submit comments?To let us know about legislation or policies that are not represented in the database, any mistakes in the entries, or if you have any other comments, click here.